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Balanced Texas Attack Throttles Red Raiders, 80-51

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So I got home from the game and immediately browsed the GameDay Open Thread, eager to see if the folks watching at home were as excited about tonight's performance as I was.

Turns out. . . no one saw it.

Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised - not with my twenty some-odd years living in Austin dealing with the local cable companies and the commonplace disasters. Apparently, tonight was one of those nights, as over half of the coments involved whoopspat threatening to hurl himself over the balcony of his apartment.

I sure hope he didn't, 'cause I went to the game, and I'm here to tell you all about it.

The Longhorns thoroughly dominated the Red Raiders tonight, but most impressively, they did it so damn easily. By the time folks at home realized they were having trouble finding the game, the very game they were searching for was over. The 'Horns led by five points after two minutes, 16 points after 9 minutes, and 22 points after 12 minutes.

Game, set, match.

The star of the show in the first half was Justin Mason, who erupted for 9 points in the first ten minutes of the half, while assisting on three other baskets. He was active on defense, on the glass, and in the half court and transition offense, effectively setting the tone for tonight's blowout.

Everything else sort of fell into place around Mason, with Texas enjoying another evening in which all five starters hit double figures in scoring:

The five starters played together as well as they have all season, taking the suspense right out of the game. I have one and only one criticism of tonight's performance, and that was that Rick let the starters play so many minutes. As young as this team is, there are a lot of guys out there playing more basketball than they ever have in their lives, and yet, with Texas completely and totally blowing out Texas Tech at home, three starters (Abrams, Durant, and Augustin) logged 37+ minutes of basketball.

I really thought Rick missed a golden opportunity to steal some rest for these guys, but really, that's the extent of the criticism tonight. Texas played like a very good team tonight, and if they can take that kind of focus and efficiency to Norman on Saturday, they'll win.

I'll conclude with a brief thought on the defense, which was excellent tonight, once again. Kudos to Rick Barnes for sticking AJ Abrams on Jarrius Jackson, effectively forcing Abrams to justify his minutes on the court. Abrams is plenty quick to be (at least) an adequate defender, and I really, really love Barnes' decision of late to make Abrams defend a high scoring guard. We've talked about what AJ brings to the table on offense, but by not hiding AJ on defense (by putting him on a weak scorer), Rick's really making sure that AJ understands that he'll have to contribute both ways to really be worth playing 35-40 minutes a game.

Sorry, Red Raider fans. Tonight's game summary will have no Bad Stuff section. Tonight we Longhorn fans will just enjoy one of the best overall performances of the year. Pack up the criticisms, boys and girls. No need for them tonight. Too much Good Stuff to enjoy.

--PB--

Player Total Field Goals Three Pointers Total Points Rebounds Assists Steals Turnovers
Justin Mason 5-7 2-4 13 3 4 2 1
AJ Abrams 6-11 4-9 18 3 2 0 1
Kevin Durant 6-16 3-5 17 8 0 4 0
Damion James 5-8 0-1 12 10 2 0 3
DJ Augustin 5-10 3-5 16 3 6 0 3